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Can J Anaesth. 2005 Jun-Jul;52(6):600-6.

The treatment of chronic pain in Québec: a study of hospital-based services offered within anesthesia departments.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.



Little or no information exists on the services that are currently available for the treatment of chronic pain across the different regions of Canada. As a first step, this study documented the hospital-based resources and services offered for the management of chronic non-cancer pain within anesthesia departments in Québec.


In collaboration with the Association of Anesthesiologists of Québec and the Société québécoise de la douleur, a provincial survey was conducted to assess the availability of services for chronic pain management within hospital-based anesthesia departments along with the volume of clinical activities, staff composition, treatments offered and space facilities.


The response rate was 100%. Fifty of the 69 departments (73%) offered services for the management of chronic non-cancer pain but the services were often limited. Twenty-six percent (13/50) of the departments provided some form of multidisciplinary assessment and treatment but only three had a core team comprised of an anesthesiologist, a nurse, a psychologist, and a physical therapist. Examination of patient waiting lists of the surveyed departments revealed disturbing results: approximately 4,500 patients were waiting for their first appointment to see a pain consultant, and nearly 3,000 (67%) had been waiting for nine months or more.


Although this survey did not include the services offered in departments other than anesthesia, the results show the extent to which the province of Québec is under-resourced for the management of chronic pain patients both in terms of access to treatment and quality of the services offered.

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